The IPL returns once again when defending champions Mumbai Indians play Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday 9th April. The tournament will last until the 30th May, with six venues hosting the games without the public being allowed in.

The Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad will host all the play-off games and final this year.

Eight sides will be entering the challenge to wrestle away the IPL trophy from Mumbai Indians.

Super Kings looking to their all-rounders

Chennai Super Kings strength this campaign will be their all-rounders and experienced players in the squad.

English all-rounders Sam Curran and Moeen Ali are the impact players who can turn a game around. The main weakness in the team is the age of players in the squad.

MS Dhoni had a disappointing 2020 with CSK, while both Ambati Rayudu and Robin Uthappa have been away from international cricket for a while.

Their key player Ravindra Jadeja may not be at his peak after sustaining an injury in Australia which caused him to miss the England series.

The only specialist foreign batsman in the squad is Faf du Plessis, which will allow an opportunity for more Indian batsman to come through.

Capitals looking to go one better this time around

Delhi Capitals will aim to go one better this season after losing to Mumbai Indians last year.

Capitals released six players ahead of the IPL auction. Umesh Yadav and Vishnu Vinod have been added to the side as well as the experienced Steve Smith.

Their strength undoubtably lies in their bowling attack which includes Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma. Complete with England’s Tom Curran and Chris Woakes, expect another strong showing from the Capitals.

Better things expected from Knight Riders this time around

Kolkata Knight Riders will be aiming to make a better impact in 2021 than last year. Led by England’s white ball captain Eoin Morgan, KKR have signed Shakib Al Hasan and Ben Cutting.

Riders will be hoping for better performances from West Indian Andre Russell who failed to deliver last campaign. The franchise have added the experienced Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh with hopes to improve their performances in 2021.

Can anybody stop Mumbai Indians?

The most successful franchise in the IPL Mumbai Indians with five wins in total- the most by anybody- will be looking to make it three titles in a row.

Rohit Sharma- who excelled in the recent white ball series’s against England- is MI leading run score. Backed with Quinton de Kock at the top of the order adds firepower to Mumbai.

On the bowling front the experienced Lasith Malinga will be key to MI’s success in 2021. Along with the outstanding Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Bolt, Indians have a lethal bowling attack.

On the all rounders front Mumbai can turn to another player who flourished against England recently, Hardik Pandya and the brilliant Kieron Pollard.

Come the end of May it will be no surprise to anybody to see Mumbai Indians contesting once again another final.

New name for Punjab this time around

Formerly known as Kings X1Punjab, the new name of Punjab Kings will be featured in this seasons IPL.

Hoping for a change of name will hopefully bring them a change of luck after a sixth-place finish last time out. The franchise has never won the IPL, but with their squad for this season’s IPL there is renewed optimism for Punjab.

They will look towards the current ranked Number 1 T20 batsman in the world for the bulk of their runs. Kings have spent big on two exciting bowlers in the shape of Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith.

One of the players of the 2020 tournament Mayank Agarwal will be looking to continue in the same vein. India’s KL Rahul- who looked a better batsman in 50 over cricket lower down the order- must improve his T20 form.

Add into the mix Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran, which will ensure Punjab won’t go short on runs.

Rock bottom last season, Royals after big improvement

Rajasthan Royals who finished bottom of the IPL last season have made big changes. The owners released Smith and have promoted Sanju Samson as their new Captain for 2021.

Having released no less than eight players, the franchise snapped up Chris Morris, Kuldip Yadav and England’s Liam Livingstone.

Royals have been handed a hammer blow prior to the start of the tournament when Jofra Archer was ruled out of the tournament through injury. Despite this setback a lot of Indian media pundits are tipping Royals to push Indians all the way this season.

Royal Challengers Bangalore will be looking for their first ever IPL title. Led by Virat Kohli, the side reached the semi-final stage last season and will be looking to reach that elusive final.

After releasing ten players, RCB have signed the services of New Zealand all rounder Kyle Jamieson and Australian all rounder Glenn Maxwell.

Along with Kohli, AB de Villiers, Washington Sundar and Navdeep Saini and Kane Richardson have all been retained.

Looking to improve on an encouraging third place finish last term are Sunrisers Hyderabad.

SRH have only won the IPL once in 2016 but finished like a train in 2020. The form of David Warner will once again be pivotal to SRH chances.

Their two big signings in the auction raised a few eyebrows. Kedar Jadhav and Mujeeb Ur Rahman will be under huge pressure to perform in this campaign.

Sunrisers will have the services of player of the series Jonny Bairstow in England’s recent ODI series defeat. Along with West Indian Jason Holder they could be a side that may offer up a surprise or two.